Mulberry Gardens unveils Wall of Honor

Angelina Gange, a resident of The Orchards at Southington, is nearing her 100th birthday. However, she has no problem recounting stories of her military service more than 70 years ago.

Gange said her father was an air raid warden, her sister was a cadet nurse and her brother was in the U.S. Air Force, so it was only natural for her to enlist, too, during World War II. She served for two years, three months and 26 days, primarily in the medical corps where she trained air crews in a low pressure chamber.

On Flag Day, June 14, she and 14 other residents were recognized for their military service during the unveiling of the Wall of Honor at The Orchards at Southington. The wall features a scrolling monitor displaying the names, details of service and photos—then and now—of the community veterans.

Emblems representing all five branches of the military and a plaque of the Pledge of Allegiance accent the wall.

Gange, who said she did not serve in the military “for medals, awards or rewards,” was pleased to receive a red, white and blue lap afghan that had been knitted for all recipients by Southington resident Jean Brennan.

John DeMello Sr. and Rachel Wache, representatives of the Southington Veterans Committee, presented each person with a flag. Steve Pintarich and Steve McCarty, members of the American Legion Kiltonic Post 72, also offered their congratulations.

“Ceremonies such as this marking Flag Day remind us how important the American flag is to the American people and especially the veterans,” DeMello said in a press release. “The Orchards Wall of Honor acknowledges the resident veterans and reminds us of what they gave to their country to make it forever free.”

Family members were also present for the ceremony. Karen Veltri was there to honor her father Joe Yurcak who served in the U.S. Marine Corps band from 1952 to 1955. Even though he has not shared many stories of his experiences, Veltri said she was proud of him for serving his country.

“The flag is more than just material stitched together in stars and stripes. This flag is why we are here today. It is why you chose to join one of the branches of the U.S. military,” said LeaAnn Blanchard, The Orchards executive director. “This Wall of Honor is a reminder of the freedom that you fought for and what our flag stands for.”

New veterans will be added to the scrolling display to perpetually honor those who served.

The Orchards at Southington offers independent and assisted living, and is a not for profit member of Hartford HealthCare Senior Services.

For more information about The Orchards at Southington, visit www.southingtonorchards.org.

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